Hair and beauty business given Ignite boost
This is the second of a weekly series of features focusing on participants in the second cohort of Ignite Bermuda, the island’s first privately funded business accelerator.
Entrepreneur Kayuntae Ming has growth on her mind as she embarks on a five-month stay in the second cohort of Ignite Bermuda, the island’s privately funded business accelerator.
Ms Ming is the owner and manager of His N’ Hers Hair&Beauty, an online business that sells a range of all-natural hair and beauty products that she makes herself.
The 21-year-old CedarBridge Academy and Bermuda College graduate launched her business in November 2017 in an attempt to avoid potentially harmful ingredients after an aunt died of cancer.
To begin, His N’ Hers offered a variety of moisturisers, hair and body butters, hair and beard oils, and lip balms.
Today, the main product lines include ten moisturisers, four oils and five lip balms, but Ms Ming has plans to add bath and toiletry products like soaps and body washes.
She said: “Growth is definitely one of my No 1 priorities at Ignite. Growth in all aspects — mindset, sales numbers, and product offerings.
“With Ignite, I am very confident they will help me to achieve my goal of meeting certain profit targets every month.”
Sales over the last 13 months have been made via social media channels Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp, as well as at vendor events on-island, resulting in “large growth”, Ms Ming said.
She plans to relaunch His N’ Hers’ website “before Valentine’s Day”. The site was active through the end of 2018, but was taken down for improvements.
Ms Ming said: “Once the website is up, things will go a little smoother, especially tracking orders.”
Future plans include getting His N’ Hers’ products into barber shops, beauty salons and other outlets on-island that sell all-natural goods.
Ms Ming’s track record is encouraging.
In 2018, she recorded the top sales figures among ten participants in the eight-week summer student entrepreneurship programme organised by the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation, and was one of five winners of the BEDC’s Vend 2 Win competition that earned her a trip to showcase products at a market in Brooklyn, New York.
Two months ago, His N’ Hers won the People’s Choice Award at the third annual Small Business Awards presented by the BEDC.
“That was very humbling, I wanted to cry because I wasn’t expecting it,” she said. “I was happy to know that I was supported.”
Last year, Ms Ming was accepted into the “Ignite light” programme of monthly seminars and guest speakers.
She said: “Ignite light was very informative, it opened my eyes to some of the behind-the-scenes things I was overlooking.
“‘Know my numbers’ is the biggest one. I know it is something I need to focus on, but I don’t like math so I have tried to avoid it where I can. I know it’s a necessity so I realise I need to focus on improving the accuracy of my numbers.”
Mr Ming said she also committed “to self-develop, understand my flaws, so that when I applied again in November I would be much more prepared for the opportunity”.
That self-development has involved taking several online courses, including a pharmacy technician course “so I have the credentials to provide what I’m providing”, as well as listening to a call by business coach and mentor Neno Torres.
She says: “He talks about different ways to improve your mindset and be your best self.
“I do a lot of self-development. My morning routine is to hop on at least one self-development call.”
Now in the cohort, Ms Ming has a one-on-one meeting every other week with Ignite staff.
“I met with Laura [Ignite manager of acceleration and entrepreneurial enablement Lyons] last week Tuesday,” she said. “In the hour, she learnt so much about me, and she helped me in ways she doesn’t even realise.
“Definitely the thing I want most is to build lifelong connections with people in the programme because I know they will have the spirit of people just like me who don’t follow the rules of ‘you need to get a job and work for someone’ and instead do it for myself.”
Eventually, Ms Ming said, she would like to open a store. In the meantime, she will operate online and encourages shoppers in Bermuda to support local brands like hers.
“I love to support local brands,” Ms Ming says.
“I would love some support for my brand from locals.”
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